What I love about Thanksgiving

This is not a drill. We are exactly one week away. I can’t wait. I love to eat. I love Thanksgiving for a few reasons. A lot of them has to do with how people act. It’s like the one time of the year for the most part that others around you lay their issues down. Now I know some folks turn up and like to ruin the day, but the folks and family I am around these last few years especially come together and celebrate what it’s all about.

We generally have no rules for Thanksgiving. We usually go to our uncle’s house where he graciously does all the cooking. I usually still cook my own meal at home too. Got to have more food for later in the week. Nothing is better than Thanksgiving food days later. We also started a new tradition where we go to the movies the day off too. I love it because it’s not crowded and we can see what’s coming out for the rest of the holiday season too. Also its about coming together and relaxing and enjoying one another’s companies. It’s a time to catch up before Christmas comes. I love it. I love to sip my wine pretty much all day. Thanks to my husband for being that designated driver because by end of the night we always end with a final glass together. It’s our way to tell each other how thankful we are for what we have. Its our own couple’s tradition. We  have a lot to be grateful for.

I love the traditional food. You know turkey, mac and cheese, greens, etc. However the only thing I don’t like is the struggle plates folks want to post. We all eating generally the same thing. No one’s plate looks great. It is a plate with every piece of food that could fit on plate number 1. I don’t post my plates and try my best to scroll past the other plates that day. I love how happy everyone is. I love how people give the best hugs that they must have been saving all year because hugs just feel warmer this day. I love watching my kids interact with family and how happy they are.  I love seeing my grandpa do his yearly dance and all of the kids try to teach him the newest and latest moves. I record it every year. I know eventually it will be a memory that we will hold on to. I love calling my family and hearing about what they are doing. We generally stay in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving so I call the Lancaster family or FaceTime them .  It’s always good to check on them and to see how much potato salad my mom made. I love talking to my friends and checking in on them. We have one set of friends this year who will be parents. So baby watch is in full effect. I love waking up to the smells of the kitchen.  The only thing about the holidays that we miss is my Mother in Law, Deborah, my great grand parents, Beverly and Olivia Sims, and my maternal grandfather Fred McGinnis. I always wake up and remember them on these big holidays. I wonder what they would be doing if they were. I know their memory will live on.

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I hope that as you prepare for the holiday of Thanksgiving that you remember what it’s about. That you take in the moments that you can. That you remember how grateful you should be on that day and everyday. I hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. I hope that it’s not ruined by anyone. If you know you are bound to cause issues don’t go to someone else’s home starting stuff. Stay home. Thanksgiving isn’t the arena to air out differences. It’s a time to come together. Go to those you need to make it right with, and do it before the dinner. Don’t come to the dinner table ready to start the mess that could have been worked out before the day. Work it out or find another home by which you can have a good time. Drama and holidays don’t have to mix. Also to some of my friends who I know the holidays trigger you, you don’t have to be the one to start issues to not go to a function that will further trigger you. I would rather you do a Friendsgiving than a family one if the family one is going to make you all kinds of upset. I don’t spend my time holidays or not around folks that I feel I can’t get along with. Life is too short to spend it with miserable people.

Also I know some deal with anxiety of getting together with others. I would try to take someone with you if you can. Also if there is a family member you get along with more, stay around them until you get comfortable. Especially if you haven’t seen others in quite some time. Be prepared for the 3rd degree. Those family members that’s asking others a thousand questions, leave folks alone. It’s no ones business why they aint married or have kids yet, worry about your own mate and kids. These types of situations make it hard for some folks to be around your nosey behind. Eat your turkey in peace and leave other folks lives alone.

Let folks come and enjoy their time together. That is what I love, the coming together without the issues. Eat and have a good time-sharing your gratefulness!

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National Make A Difference Day

How can you make a difference? This is such an open-ended question. We always have a tenacity to go to what we don’t have before we answer. You start listing all of the things you aren’t before you can just simply find ways to be the difference in someone else’s lives.

Whatever gifts and talents that are inside of you is more than enough to make a difference. Here are a few ways you can give back and make a difference:

 

Home Life

One charity starts at home. I hate to see people who are super bomb to everyone around them except their own family. I hate to see it with parents who go out and win everyone else’s child but ignore the issues with their own. I hate to see husbands and wives flex on social media but behind closed doors, give silent treatments and ignore the needs of their spouse. We all have to do better.

  • Spend more time with your children. Yes you work to provide. Provision is responsibility. Taking time away from your phone, to sing a song, or play one of their games, or sit and ask them what they like and what’s bothering them makes a difference for a child. Try it some time.
  • Love on your mate. Whether it’s a boo, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, take some time and spend it on them. Yes gifts are great, but how about watch one of their shows actively with them. How about talk and make sure the air is clear? You can also make a dessert together. These are inexpensive ways to show the ones you love that you are one with them.
  • Check in on loved ones. We say we love folks but the only time we check in on them is if we have the tea about another family member. Change that. Call and ask if all is well and mean it. Than when you find out it’s not if you can help, help. Also unless someone told you to tell another person, build trust and just listen and not take their issues to another family member so you “can pray about it.”

Work Life

  • Show up and be on time ready to work. That’s a ministry all in itself.
  • Don’t be apart of the office gossip-remember the same lips bringing you the tea, is the same one taking your tea to stir at another pot on you
  • Be the change in the office you want to see
  • If the job no longer serves you, don’t stay get an exit plan. This may take time, but be proactive in leaving
  • Find ways to be more productive even if that means changing the scenery. When work starts to get to me sometimes I redecorate to fit a new mood. It helps me about 60% of the time

Social Media Life

  • Don’t go back and forth with them……. (in my Lil Duval voice) if you find yourself having to respond to more than one comment just stop. You aren’t going to win an argument on social media with trolls
  • Be who you post to be. Yeah that’s right. Align your social media to reflect who you are. On my social media I highlight me as a mom and wife. I don’t create doors to let anyone think they have space to slide in the DM. They do but at that point they just are trying to do the most.
  • Make sure you don’t do subliminal post. This is hard even for me at times. You see a post and it speaks to you but post it cause it spoke to YOU. You can’t be out here taking shots at folks you don’t even @

 

We all have things that we can give to the world. I came across a young lady on social media that is a hair dresser and she feeds the homeless. This is her life work. She literally gets out there with the folks that many would snub their noses at, and she feeds them and cleans them up and does their hair. She has a whole team of folks that assist her. Think about how her being there does for them. She treats them with dignity and respect. I know if I was down and out the last thing I would want is someone kicking me when I was done. What about those who raise money for others?  They are making a difference in the causes by which they are raising it for. How about those who set up camps at the bus stops for kids to make sure all of the kids have breakfast. You don’t know what someone may be going through at home. Everybody ain’t sitting at home collecting checks. Some middle class folks work everyday and still can’t make ends meet. How about the men who go into the community to pray over the city. There are a few groups here in Philadelphia who do it consistently. What can you do? Whatever gift is inside of you can help make a difference.

I said it before but around thanksgiving I see so many companies give back to others and it warms my heart. If you cut hair, how about offer your services to people who can’t afford to maintain their cuts on a regular basis? If you are a financial planner, offer your services to a few families for free to get them out of debt?  The sky is the limit. Whatever you do, do it well. Someone needs the very thing you have and complain about. Make a difference today and everyday!

 

Thanksgiving 2017: Break a Few Rules

So I really do hope everyone survived Thanksgiving especially for the readers that asked for advice. Not everyone was surrounded by love sometimes they are surrounded by dysfunctional family or friends and getting through may have been the only goal. However you spent it I hope you made the best of it.

I did a bunch of running around even though I had gotten off work early on Wednesday. Once home I started straight into cooking. Growing up my mom always cooked no matter who’s house we were set to visit. One reason is so we could always have our own personal dinner and get together and two so we could have them good left overs the day after. I kind of liked this tradition and I do the same.

So after the preparing and cooking, on Thanksgiving we decided to pull rank and do our own thing. We ate dinner for breakfast. I know a lot of folks do this the day after but we did it on Thanksgiving morning. It was fun, good and we did it while we watched the Macy Day Parade. Talk about a great day?! It was so much relieve from the norm.

After that we put our Christmas tree up, got dressed and headed to the movies. Yes the movies. I’ve heard of folks doing the movies on the holiday but I had never done it and it really came down to why not?! Why couldn’t we have a relaxed day with one another? So we did. We ended up seeing The Star which is about the birth of Jesus. I loved it. The kids were I really interactive with the movie and it made a great time. Also the soundtrack is amazing FYI!! And if you have younger kids like 3, they will be fine. It has enough action to keep them fully engaged. It also allowed my own 3 year old to ask questions afterwards too. It’s not stuffy and as an adult I would see it without the kids.

Oh and for another new thing we decided to have bacon wrapped turkey. I know a lot of folks that don’t eat pork and generally I do turkey bacon but this turkey was nothing short of amazing. You didn’t even need gravy for it!! FYI the below picture is before it was cooked before the holier than thou accuse me of not being able to cook. Don’t come for me today!!

We did go to my uncles house. This is my husband Uncle but he’s my uncle just the same. It’s always a great thing when in laws really become an extension of your own. He hosted dinner as he’s done many times before and it was a great time!!

One of the things my kids enjoyed was not having to wear dressy clothes and sit at the table. Shout out to the parents that had some of the best dressed kids including my nieces. We just opted against it this year! We instead kept it causal and cute!

We sit at the table for every last meal. We decided to have our breakfast dinner together in the living room. Why not?! The meaning of Thanksgiving is to be together and sometimes when you don’t sit at the table all year long you want to make this big production of gathering around the table once a year. Not us we do this year round so we flipped it this year. I saw some amazing spreads and beautiful tables and trust I am the queen of holiday flare but this was our casual comfy Year. I’ll hit it hard for next year….maybe.

I want to openly say how grateful I am for my own little family, extended family, amazing friends, and my followers!!!

Overall we came home and reflected and this year we really were able to combine a little of something for everyone. The kids enjoyed breaking a few rules and relaxing. The parents had great holiday drinks, good food and felt like it was the most relaxed Thanksgiving we have had in a long time. So cheers to making it our own and creating our own traditions along the way. I hope you too had a great day and a great rest of your weekend!! I know I will as I fix another plate!!

Another note if you’re able try to give unto others. I woke up to some amazing stories that I’ve been seeing online about some regulars community members spreading good cheer and love. The holidays is what it’s all about!

Thanksgiving Tips To Get Through

It’s here, it’s finally here.  The start of the holidays can begin.  For all of those that have been dreading this or those who welcome it, it’s time to go into full gear. With that said not everyone will be spending the holidays with the most accepting family or friends.  Honestly I would suggest to avoid drama to have a Friendsgiving meal instead of with family if the situation is toxic.  Life is too short to be arguing over the dinner table.  I would rather family be mad and get over it then to have to spend the holidays overwhelmed, angry, and then have this feeling stick with you for days.  This is not that I do not like family gatherings, I do but I am anti stress of any sorts regardless of the occasion.  In case you just can’t just not show up to a family gathering and you know there will unavoidable drama here are my tips to get you through:

  1. Have an exit plan. If you are traveling with others, make a code word. Something that only you and the ones you came in with know. Honor your sanity to know that you don’t have to spend a whole day, if after some time you are ready to roll, then do so.  You are grown.  Do NOT make up an excuse. Just simply be gracious, thank your host, and then leave.  If you have to make an excuse then you haven’t realized how grown you are.
  2. Take a deep breath.  Folks gon work your nerves. There’s no way around it. Be prepared for it.
  3. Don’t answer everything.  Sometimes we talk to much just to prove a point and why?  It’s not necessary.  You don’t have to be right.  There’s peace and letting folks play themselves.  It’s amazing the folks every holiday that got a word for YOUR life, but yet ain’t got one for their own. Less is best.
  4. As long as you’re not on alcoholic tendencies, grab a drink but don’t overdo it.  Two people tell the truth and that’s kids and drunk folks.  Loose lips sink ships.  So do not become so drunk that you allow your drunk muscles to speak for you.  This is when things go left and what you should have dealt with sober you try to deal with liquid courage.
  5. Bring a hostess gift.  Do you know the worst thing about the holidays is the part where folks talk about the ones who just come through with a plate but don’t ever bring anything to contribute.  Bring something.  Even if its momma house and she insist, slide momma a few dollars. Do something.
  6. Remember that Thanksgiving is one day.  Do not fall into the trap in putting more power in the day that you forget what the day is about.
  7. If things get heated, retreat, leave, walk away.  You know you are going to hear the same stories. the same drama, and the same everything, be prepared for it.
  8. Be realistic.  If you chalk it up to be more than what you know it will be, you will be the only one disappointed.
  9. Have some fun-yes with all of the stress to prepare the perfect meal, be the best host, or just avoid going to jail remember to have a little fun.  Play some games, enjoy that beverage, enjoy that piece of pie-enjoy!
  10. Do not bring anyone to someone else’s house without speaking with them beforehand.  No you can’t bring your new flavor of this week to the dinner.  We don’t want to meet them. No you can’t just bring a random dude to momma house. See them afterwards.  I know people want to bring them a tenderoni to the dinner but unless you clear it with the hoss, meet up for some after Thanksgiving night cap and leave it at that. If you don’t take heed the only tenderoni you gon have is some ricearoni or get hemmed up in a corner.  There are rules so know the rules before you go to someone’s house.
  11. For the single that get the when you getting married question, just be gracious. No matter what you say or do they gon ask.  You might as well deal.  If you are married and you get the whole, when are you having kids find a way to be gracious instead of mad.  If you feel the need to be a little bit more stern than do so but remember stern don’t have to be ignorant unless someone has asked you several times in the same night and won’t respect your no.
  12. If you are married or dating and you are going over your in-laws or future in-laws, take the cue in how to deal with their family from your mate or boo. Stop overstepping your boundaries. Everybody family ain’t saved and you might get a bite you wasn’t expecting.  Attempt to be respectful.  If you feel you can’t remove yourself.

I hope you all have a great holiday. It will take a cool down, being focused on what the holiday is about, having a plan of action, and removing yourself from stressful situations to do that.  Remember self-care sometimes means saying no, not over doing it, enjoying the moment and controlling your own responses.  Have a good one and keep these things in mind.

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Traditions Anyone?!

So before we throw ourselves into Christmas we have to enjoy Thanksgiving.  So what are some of the traditions or favorites that you and your family enjoy? I know I am turning into the graphic t-shirt aka fun shirt family.  I love, love anything that is unique with great sayings etc.  I just love them. I think it allows you to have a little fun and during the holidays, that’s the best part. So you know that means I am an Etsy fanatic.  Etsy is my go to for artist who can carry out my t-shirt design and so far I haven’t been let down.  Shout out to all of the independent artist.  Also if you have some great pieces especially if they are holiday related, shot me an email at toitimeblog@gmail.com I may just rock one of your pieces!

So outside of being the t-shirt gang, as I do coordinate our stuff too.  I have two options this year, so you will have to wait for my Thanksgiving Day update to find how I find ways to wear them both.  We just take it easy.  I know that some folks wear super fancy outfits and the kids look all spruced up, but for us being comfortable, relaxed, and clean is our goal.  We are here for the food and drinks.  We take in the day with allowing the kids to bake with me the day before. They love it. This year we are doing a peach bundt cake with cinnamon swirl from scratch.  I don’t always advertise but I am a little mini Betty Crocker.  I don’t sell my stuff but I really love to bake for therapeutic reasons.  It makes me feel so super calm. I get in my zone. We let the mini bakers in the kitchen with music on and we have a blast.

Charlie Brown anyone?

We ALWAYS watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special.  I do not care what else is on television it doesn’t matter what is going on, in our home Charlie Brown is king. This year it will air on November 22 at 8pm EST.  I will be glued to the television as if I have never seen it before.  We get into our coziest pjs and by that time whatever I have cooking I plan around so I can leave it doing its thing so I can sit with the kids and soak it in.  In case you just can’t wait or can’t catch it.  Here is your chance, Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Wine and Things

I am who Google was made for. I am the queen of research and between that and Pintrest I am always on the search for any great Fall or Thanksgiving drinks both non alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.  I like to make something that is mocktail appropriate for my kids. No I am not pushing the kids to drink, but let’s face it kids are visual.  Having a special drink that looks cool scores big mom points. And you do realize that for me at least, it makes the day that more fun.  They are little, they won’t always be this little.  Anything where I can do fun stuff and enjoy them I do and will continue to do.

I am a wine lover.  I like wine and I am not ashamed so if nothing else one of this year’s t-shirt is super valid.  Yes that is one of my looks I got from Etsy and wine is life.  Don’t fool yourself to think you won’t catch me with a great white wine.  To get this great shirt maybe even for next year, you can catch it here, Tday shirt

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Pick up the phone

This year I am going to push for phone contact.  I mean the old school, pick up the phone and call folks.  So to my friends and family, be on the lookout. Even if folks don’t answer, I will be leaving my voice on voice mails. I love text messages, as they allow you to send messages and communicate with others but I love to hear how folks are doing. I have a situation happen where someone I loved recently texted and said they were fine, but in their voice they wasn’t.  Not that this is fool-proof but talking always you to gauge others better than just a simple text can ever do.

Decorating Time

My husband grew up where the tree was put up the day before Christmas.  I grew up where we did it before. I love the tradition of putting it up. To compromise we had it up but delayed it severely to accommodate both of us.  Since the holidays, we now put it up the weekend after Thanksgiving mostly because we needed to add a little happiness and joy in our home since the passing of my mother in law.  We will be doing the same as this is the second one we haven’t had her. It helps with the mood. the kids get super excited, and it allows me to be the biggest cornball ever as my mom calls it. I put on Christmas music, bake cookies that I have already made batches for, and we just dance, sing, and let the kids decorate their tree the way they want to. I try not to disturb their artistic ability.  Again I will have my own tree later, this is their tree.

So as you can we don’t do much.  We try to see as many family as we can. Other than we enjoy the time off, we enjoy each other, and we enjoy great food.  It is the holiday to remember how grateful you are for everything good and bad.  The bad helps you to be better so don’t despise the down times.  We all need a little water to grow!  I am grateful for my family, friends, my job, my life, and my followers!  So now is the time to make the holidays what you want them to be. I try not to make mine what others make theirs.  You can have a great time even if you spend it with a small group of folks or a large group.  Also remember especially if you are just forming your own family, the things you bring in along with who you share your life with don’t have to match.  Find ways to incorporate both sides.  It will make for a richer holiday season! You make it what you want it to be!

The Catch Up: November 14, 2017

I haven’t given a weekly update since October 30th.  Life has been happening and I am enjoying every minute of it. If you have been following me on Facebook than you know that I work hard to bring you the national days as many as I can.  With the holidays fast approaching like next week is Thanksgiving I have arranged that all posts have been set so I can enjoy some much-needed family time. I have taken a few days off from work as well so me and my little family can zone out with each other, wear Thanksgiving gear, and just eat and be merry.  I will still be posting blogs.  I will not be taking a total break.  We are going to finish the year strong. In the meantime, what has been going on?

Personal

I have been hitting the social scene pretty hard. I have been balancing that with my family, work, and my work out schedule. I think my planners are burning at this point. As the end of the year approaches there has already been an increase of more social events to attend. If there is anyone who like me deals with social anxiety this time of the year can be a huge issue for you. I understand. I try to get there on time because for me getting there late makes me feel like the spotlight is on me. Take deep breaths and play some calming or feel good music on the way.  I also try to make sure that I connect with at least one person and make that my go to person as I travel the room and greet others. I also make sure that I have an exit plan in place in case I get too overwhelmed. For the most part unless it’s a show or something I have to be at for the whole event.

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So far since the last update I have attended a yoga class, went to see Bad moms, attended my son’s soccer, went out for Halloween, and attended the Janet Jackson concert.  Holy get out of the house.  This doesn’t include my meet-ups for working out with friends so this girl is finally breaking out of her shell.

I can’t wait to enjoy some much-needed family time and I hope that you do the same with your families.

My job is doing a maintain challenge. The goal is to keep maintain where you are but if you go over 2 pounds you are disqualified.  This has helped me since I have changed my schedule to include 5 days at the gym, with 3 of those days being in the am.  So whatever you need to do so you can still eat them pies, cookies, and cakes I suggest you do. I am going to keep going but I will still enjoy some of the great holiday food!

Blog

We have been on the move. I have answered a slew of Ask Toi. I will continue to push those out as I am a bit behind.  If you have been asking why there are so many the holidays always brings stress.  As soon as that stress hits people need to vent. I am here. Ask your questions by sending an email to toitimeblog@gmail.com

If you have missed any blogs check them out ToiTimeblog

We have done over 10 or more blogs as I am averaging out to at least 4 or more blogs a week. A girl is feeling pretty good these blogging days! Thank you to all who have wished me a happy anniversary.  It’s still November. My social media pages will all be getting revamped.

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I have made changes to the blog itself. By Thanksgiving I will have changes to Instagram 

Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Snapchat as Toitimeblog

Have a great one and remember to be kind!

 

 

Ask Toi: Holiday Edition

I am afraid to tell my parents that I do not want to stay at their house during the holidays.  How do I do it?

I would have the conversation now before the holidays really shift into gear.  Try to talk to them about the why.  Your why is the biggest reason as to why you made your decision and you need to be clear about it.  Also be prepared.  Some parents will be fine with it and will still want to spend time with you regardless.  Some parents are petty and unfortunately may take it a step further and cancel you even dropping by altogether.  You know the climate of your parents but being an adult means sometimes you have to do what’s best for you.  You not staying at their house doesn’t make you any less their child. Its going to come down to you being okay with their response, show respect always but not letting them or anyone tell you or convince you that your decision is wrong.  Usually unchecked emotions and conversations that should have been had will creep up during the holidays and this is why you need to break the news to them now.  You don’t need to create issues during the actual holidays if you don’t havea to. It will be easier to get it off of your chest and heart.  It may not be as bad as you think, the stress of having someone over during the holidays could be relieved for you and them.  You won’t know until you do it. Put your big girl panties on, talk about it and go from there.

Will my boyfriend propose?  It is making me nervous and I don’t know how to deal.

I don’t know if he will propose.  I would think that you know the status of your relationship.  Are you ready to be wife is the question.  Are you ready to take in another person because you have done all the work to be a whole woman?  You can have the proposal in the back of your mind.  Holidays are a perfect proposal time but don’t play your feelings to be all ready for it and it doesn’t happen. I always tell women to be ideal in the timeline of their relationship. If you haven’t at the very least been with a man through all of the seasons, have been past the honeymoon stage, seen him angry, seen how he does with his family, been around his family and know the dynamics that WILL affect you in your relationship down the line, pump your breaks.  You need time to get there.  Also if you feel that you have are you ready to be a wife vs a bride. There’s a difference.  There are many who love the idea of a big party, and pretty dress, flowers, and photos but don’t want to be a wife that has to deal with when your man for an example loses his job and needs to lean on you.  Be careful that your ideology of what marriage looks like isn’t taking over.  Also have a time in mind that you refuse to sit and wait.  Yes create your own ultimatum but do not tell him.  This isn’t be secretive this is real.  If you won’t honor yourself in what you will or won’t tolerate than you won’t make him honor you either.  Make your moves and stop waiting around for him to do anything.  We put so much pressure on the man and not enough on our own happiness.  This will be key if you want to be a wife so you can be that bomb wife but still complete and go after your own goals.

 

If you have a question for Toi, you can send the questions to toitimeblog@gmail.com